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New community reporting system focuses on documenting local incidents of hate

The Coalition of Muslim Women of KW will be launching a new community reporting system on Thursday to help racialized community members

The Coalition of Muslim Women of KW will be launching a new community reporting system Thursday, focused on documenting hate incidents across the region.

Their new reporting system will be the first of its kind in Waterloo Region.

The coalition's Director of Programming and Services, Sarah Shafiq said hate incidents have been largely undocumented in the region and this initiative will help them better identify issues in the community.

"This is for all racialized communities. It's covering Islamophobia, racism and xenophobia. With this data, we will have evidence-based work, and we can come up with programs and services. This is upstream work, preventative work."

She emphasized that this is a community initiative, focused on community safety.

"If they need further support in regards to connecting with the police or filing a report with the human rights tribunal or maybe seeking counselling, maybe they just want to talk about it and have a listening ear."

Shafiq said this new reporting system will help fill a gap in the region when it comes to reporting hate incidents.

"Hate incidents and discrimination doesn't come under police purview. We don't want it to -- we don't want police to be involved in all of the non-criminal aspects of our lives. We are just filling a gap."

She noted that police will still be looking into hate crimes, which includes racist graffiti or hate-motivated assaults, but there is currently nobody keeping track of non-criminal incidents of hate.

"Hate incidents are not criminal in nature. It's someone out in the community saying racial slurs or calling someone a terrorist. These are non-criminal actions and there are no repercussions in the system for these kinds of incidents."

Shafiq said none of the data collected will be shared with the police.

Victims of hate incidents will be provided with a variety of support options through The Coalition of Muslim Women of KW.

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